Captain Gronken dribbled and several drops of brown liquid ran down his shiny leather coat. Damn this ostentatious high collar, obstructing his drinking. And he just cleaned his uniform last night too. Well, some Sub-Lieutenant did it, but still. He frowned at his steaming mug as he gently put it back in the cup holder of his chair, the Eldar coffee tasty but—
An alarm blared.
“Report,” Gronken called out as his hand brushed his coat, then wiped his wet fingers on the chair.
“I have a… weird signal bearing zero-niner-three, mark two-four,” said Third Lieutenant what’s-his-name.
“What do you mean by weird?” – Gronken yawned – “This whole mission is weird. Better get that Librarian up here.”
The door hissed as it slid open on cue. A grey-armored hulk with a white wolf insignia on his shoulder stood at the doorway. The big guy squinted before entering, his boots clanking against the metal floor whilst his long fur coat mopped it. Gronken wasn’t sure whether this guy was way too serious or just trying to hide his drunkenness. And does he always have his ax in hand?
“Show me the spectrograph,” said the Space Wolves Librarian.
“Yes, Librarian Fanaticus Secundus,” answered Third Lieutenant what’s-his-name as the hulk stood behind him, eyeing the screen. “Oh wait, the signal is gone now.”
“Then replay what was just detected,” said the Librarian. “By the way, it’s Librarian Fanaticus Secundo.”
Gronken rolled his eyes. It was way too early in the morning for lessons on how to correctly decline nouns. He didn’t say that, of course. Instead he said, “Give me a warp signature analysis.”
The Third Lieutenant did as commanded whilst Gronken rose and dragged himself over to the station with his mug in hand. Both he and the Librarian stared at the screen of fuzzy dots and lines.
“It’s all very pretty,” said Gronken. “But no warp signatures.”
He stole a glance at Fanaticus II but it wasn’t really stealing. It was the kind of stealing you wanted the other person to notice. (Unlike when looking at hot but armed Eldar women.)
The Librarian raised an eyebrow. “So you do have a theory, Captain.”
Gronken shrugged. “Well, a company of Space Wolves asks us for a ride to check out a bunch of cities wiped off the map in this faraway but oh-so-beautiful sector of the Imperium. We get faint signals but no warp. It’s either the Tau or Necrons and the former are too decent to attack unprovoked.”
Fanaticus II remained silent but his lips curled just a little. Gronken grinned on the inside, his suspicion confirmed which was what he wanted. And now that he got he wanted, he wanted something else: to warp the hell away from here.
The alarm blared again.
“Signal is back.” – “Bearing one-seven-niner, mark zero-zero-four.” – “Distance is… close. Sorry sir, it’s difficult to pinpoint, readings are erratic.” – “Trying to get a visual, sir.”
Gronken sighed. Not even eight o’clock in the morning and it looks like they may get reamed from behind. He didn’t say that. Drunk or not, Fanaticus II didn’t look like the type who appreciated homoerotic sarcasm.
Finally, two massive crescent-shaped vessels appeared on the main screen.
“Identify,” grunted the Librarian.
Third Lieutenant what’s-his-name gulped and hit a few keys. “Seventy-percent match to a Necron Cairn Class Tombship, sir.”
“And the other?” asked Gronken.
“Err… also a seventy-percent match. But we only have one Cairn Class stored in our database, sir.”
“But the two ships look different,” muttered the Captain.
“Well yes, they’re both seventy percent matches to the one in the database. And they’re closing.”
Gronken sighed again. Right, so this seventy percent was not the same as that seventy percent. Seriously, don’t people design and build consistently anymore?
“Men, we go to battle!” roared the Librarian as he raised his ax, slamming it into the bulkhead. He then realized he was surrounded by wide eyes except for Captain Gronken who slurped his coffee.
“We will call for reinforcements,” added Fanaticus II, trying to sound reassuring.
“Sir, the Necrons are continuing to close.”
Gronken nodded at the Comms Officer. “Include all our sensor logs in our transmission.” After all, everyone knew it would take – hang on, add the four, carry the two – about fifty years for reinforcements to arrive out here.
The Librarian knitted his brow at the entire lack of enthusiasm. “For the Emperor!” – and then turned to Captain Gronken – “I could report you all as heretics if you don’t get going, not to mention a Captain who drinks an Eldar brew.”
“Sir, I think they’re charging weapons.”
Gronken sipped his coffee. “We will obey all your commands but forgive us if our one ship is not so fervent in facing two ominously advanced and darkly colored enemy vessels. As for my drinking preferences, consuming enemy beverages enables me to understand the enemy. Surely you know the importance of the drink.”
“Oh wait sir, they just passed us. I think they’re leaving.”
“Orders?” said Gronken.
Fanaticus II grinned. “Verify firing solutions and charge all weapons!”
“But… but… but they’re ignoring us.”
“I would like to wish you a glorious battle,” said Gronken with a bow.
Fanaticus II frowned. “And I would like to wish you a pleasant engagement.”
And it certainly was. For the Necrons.
Note: The above are intended as fan fiction and fan art. I am not affiliated with Games Workshop nor any of its subsidiaries.